This video is a half hour tour of spectacular mushroom photographs. Including glow in the dark mushrooms and time lapse that lets you watch mushrooms move as they grow. I’ve had a long standing interest in mushrooms (and other fungi) for a variety of reasons. Some are great to eat, while others are incredibly toxic and lethal. Some are very pretty, and others not so much. A few have mind altering properties, some cure cancer (at least that’s what is asserted by their advocates), and some are critical to proper operation of forests and gardens. Without them, compost would just pile up forever.
There was a time in early earthly evolution when life had just moved onto land and the dominant type was fungi. Some the size of modern trees. Only later did the present zoo of animals and botanical garden of plants evolve. Yes, at one time this was a world of fungus. They are still everywhere, but humans usually ignore them. Half way between animals and plants, they live from the dying of others. They eat, but with digestion outside rather than inside. Some make Vitamin D in the sun like we do. They share the making of chitin with all the insects and crustaceans of the world. In many ways they are like animals that can not move around. Yet in structure and appearance, are more like plants. Roots, stems, fruiting bodies…
I sometimes wonder if they are the common parent from which both plants and animals evolved. But know it isn’t the case. Algae were around before mushrooms and fungi took over the land. The reality is more along the lines of animals being distant cousins of fungi:
The opisthokonts (Greek: ὀπίσθιος (opísthios)=”rear, posterior” + κοντός (kontós)=”pole” i.e. “flagellum”) are a broad group of eukaryotes, including both the animal and fungus kingdoms. The opisthokonts, previously called the “Fungi/Metazoa group”, are generally recognized as a clade. Opisthokonts together with Apusomonadida and Breviata comprise the larger clade Obazoa.
Flagella and other characteristics:
A common characteristic of opisthokonts is that flagellate cells, such as the sperm of most animals and the spores of the chytrid fungi, propel themselves with a single posterior flagellum. It is this feature that gives the group its name. In contrast, flagellate cells in other eukaryote groups propel themselves with one or more anterior flagella. However, in some opisthokont groups, including most of the fungi, flagellate cells have been lost.
Opisthokont characteristics include synthesis of extracellular chitin in exoskeleton, cyst/spore wall, or cell wall of filamentous growth and hyphae; the extracellular digestion of substrates with osmotrophic absorption of nutrients; and other cell biosynthetic and metabolic pathways. Genera at the base of each clade are amoeboid and phagotrophic.
The close relationship between animals and fungi was suggested by Thomas Cavalier-Smith in 1987, who used the informal name opisthokonta (the formal name has been used for the chytrids by Copeland in 1956), and was supported by later genetic studies.
Early phylogenies placed fungi near the plants and other groups that have mitochondria with flat cristae, but this character varies. More recently, it has been said that holozoa (animals) and holomycota (fungi) are much more closely related to each other than either is to plants, because opisthokonts have a triple fusion of carbamoyl phosphate synthetase, dihydroorotase, and aspartate carbamoyltransferase that is not present in plants, and plants have a fusion of thymidylate synthase and dihydrofolate reductase not present in the opisthokonts. Animals and fungi are also more closely related to amoebas than to plants, and plants are more closely related to the SAR supergroup of protists than to animals or fungi. Animals and fungi are both heterotrophs, unlike plants, and while fungi are sessile like plants, there are also sessile animals.
Cavalier-Smith and Stechmann argue that the uniciliate eukaryotes such as opisthokonts and Amoebozoa, collectively called unikonts, split off from the other biciliate eukaryotes, called bikonts, shortly after they evolved.
Essentially, once eukaryotes (complex nucleus) evolved, they split into those with a tail in the back to push them around and those with a tail or two in the front to pull them around. We’re from the group with tails in the back… Some evolved from single cells into mushrooms and other fungi, others evolved into worms with mouths, then eventually evolved into all the other animals we know today. One clever worm evolved a tooth. That was pretty much the biggest leap forward in the world of worms, and from that we get all the vertebrates of today. The toothed worm that eventually added fins, spine, skull and jaws, turned fins into arms and legs, and eventually learned to type…
So while the fungi are very very distant cousins, they are not quite plants. So here’s the family album of their clan:
You also get to see the flies that hang around your face in Australia. I loved my visit there, but the flies in some places are a real annoyance. New Zealand doesn’t have them, and at that time the plane would have a crewman walk through spraying pesticide to prevent any being carried from Australia to New Zealand. I didn’t run into any in the Outback, so they seemed to be limited to places with water. Or maybe I just didn’t spend enough time out back…
That was wonderful!
I have to second Quail; excellent video! and (!!!! for good measure)
I like to look at the various mushrooms that I run across in my area. I’ve not gone nuts identifying them or even cataloging the names and prevalence of the fungi in my locale. But I do marvel at their forms and persistence.
BTW, on a local radio call-in show on gardening that I’d catch while running fix-it errands on Saturday mornings (Gardening With Denny), the topic of mushrooms in the lawn came up one time. “Denny’ said that it was a good sign that your lawn was rich in organics.
The caller wanted to know if he should apply something to kill them or if he was doing something wrong. Denny assured the caller that he has great soil going under his lawn and noted that the mushrooms were usually gone in hours or at most, after a day. “Don’t do nuthin’ and attaboy, you’re doing a good job building up your soil.”
After that, I’ve always taken it as a good sign that my weeds have great soil to thrive on whenever I see mushrooms come up in my lawn😁
I don’t do weed ‘n feed so long as I have dogs, well now just one. That’s been a good thing for the mushrooms, too. I do use some plain fertilizer a couple of times a year, though.
Oh, ’round here puffball fungi are common. I get them in my yard and I see them in the woods and, well… they are common. They range in size from ping-pong ball to tennis ball.
At my regular bluegill, bass, crappie pond that’s in the State Park we live next to, I was walking to a favorite spot when OMG! I spotted a puffball that was nearly the size of a soccer ball. It was huge and jumped an order of magnitude from the largest I had ever seen before.
The trail that I was on is shared by hikers going about the State Park and people fishing the pond. The puffball was noted and admired by many; I was fishing a clear spot near the puffball and could hear the hikers and heard the exclamations.
It lasted a whole day plus. I fish that pond near daily and when I came back the next day, it was still there. But after working my way around the pond, when I got back to the spot, someone had kicked it.
I understand that. Puffballs explode when you give them a kick or a whack with a stick. The spores go everywhere, so it’s a no harm, no foul sort of thing. It’s just part of their propagation mechanism.
I have seen time lapse videos of them exploding on their own to release their spores, and I suppose it’s their propagation mechanism to also have deer and whatnot step on them to give them a big POP! and spread their spores.
Anyhow, I have never ever seen a puffball that large, and now it has me wondering what their maximum size could be, since they usually only get to golf ball or tennis ball size before they explode on their own.
I wish there was something to show scale, but I didn’t have much luck finding an image where someone thought to include a common object for scale.
Chiefio, I have often found that your posts cover something about which i have been thinking. Here, you have done it again. We have had some different mushrooms pop up in the garden. I know they were not the edible field mushrooms which came up in the nature strip ( in Australia the grass virge between the road and the front boundary of the land one owns) a few months ago. So I was looking at some sites on identifying mushrooms and which were edible, poisonous and toxic. I downloaded some pdf files which had pretty pictures for identification but not one was marked with edible or poisonous. The video on your blog was good. The photographer lives a bit south of where I live but places around here has similar terrain and climate (although maybe a bit warmer sub-tropical rainforest) However, it would have been better if he highlighted which were safe and which dangerous. It was news to me that in Yunnan there were some 900 edible types. I have been to a fungi restaurant in Japan where they had 50 or 60 different types some which were like steak when cooked and others with a unique taste. Alex is right that one can only buy some 5 to 8 types in supermarkets. I bought some called white cap in the super, yesterday- they look like button mushrooms. I have not seen any of what we call field mushrooms that grow in a ring often around cow pats or sheep droppings in the field. They have pink or brown ribs and taste great. Maybe, they can not be grown commercially.
Anyway keep up the good work Peter
The problem is that for some poison vs edible determinations it takes a “spore print” AND careful botany. Things most folks cannot do. Each year several folks with guide books get sick….
There are some good to eat without confusing look-a-likes and others near identical. Worse, some mycelium matts will share making a mushroom with a related species, so you get variable toxicity in some places, fine to eat in others. So exact location matters.
To fairly reliably eat wild mushrooms, it is best to study with some local mushroom hunters. Join a group…
For variety, it is easiest to find an Asian Grocery Store…
Hey, hey, hey, E.M.
Mrs. H.R. Woke up at 3:00 am Friday night and couldn’t go back to sleep. For reasons unknown to me, she navigated to your blog watched the mushroom video.
She liked it a lot. Same “Gee whiz!” reaction as anyone who watches it. “I had no idea….”
I know Mrs. H.R. has read a couple of the articles here that I have pointed out because I knew she would be very interested. Not many, but she read them and was interested. As best I know, she has only read through a bit of the comments on the rare times she has been on your blog to read an article
I’m sure she has never commented here. So I thought I’d drop a note about another viewer’s highly positive reaction to that mushroom video. You never would have found out about it directly from her.
I also did that because I asked about your family reading your blog, and you said that Mrs. E.M. is much the same. She has read a some of your posts here and there, and maybe a couple of comments, that you have steered her to because you knew it was up her alley and she’d really like it. Best I know, Mrs. E.M. has never dropped a comment here, either.
But she’s there with you and can let you know, “Hey, honey. That was good.” But there are a bunch of other people who read but never drop a comment to let you know if you wrote a home run or a clinker.
I just thought I’d drop a line to let you know the mushroom video was a home run at the H.R. household.
Oh, a P.S. to all: Mrs. H.R. knows most of the regulars here on E.M.’s blog. She has even had opportunity to meet Ossqss and knows who Gail Combs is because I’ve referred her to a few of Gail’s posts and… I always wave to Gail and her hubby when I cross I-40 on the way to or from Hilton Head Island in S.C. I sent some Marmite to Gallopingcamel so she knows…sorta… who he is. “You bought what?!? And you’re sending it where?!?” What the hey-all is Marmite?”
Anyhow, Mrs. H.R. recognizes a lot of the names here if, after she asks who is that? and I say oh that’s so-and-so in G.B. or France (one of the Brits or Simon Derricutt in France or P.G. in California) or whatever.
But she is by no means a regular.
While my area isn’t quite as deadly as parts of Australia, novices here are warned to be wary of the wildlife and don’t drink from most streams or eat fruits and nuts found in the wild. Rumor has it a mountain lion still lurks in the wooded hills … but no bears, yet, nor gators. Lots of poisonous snakes though, so watch where you put your hand! I have seen with my own eyes all of the main varieties of poisonous snakes and a few of the hybrids. Definitely do not eat any mushroom here that wasn’t bought in the store. While you might survive .., you may find yourself needing a liver transplant.
For good eating, it’s difficult to beat morels.
Our woods are full of Morel but it takes a fire to make them “bloom” I don’t hunt mushrooms, but there are lots of varieties that show in season. Most of them are not palatable a few toxic! Just not something I’m into. Probable should dump wood ashes from the stove out in the woods and see if I can force a Morel bloom.
When I saw this title, I thought you were talking about our President. You know, someone who lives in the basement and eats . . . err, well, manure. Maybe it’s that he feeds us that manure stuff.
Nice to know.
There’s a tree in Florida that’s lethal. Just sitting under it in the rain can kill you… Everywhere has their thing… I grew up playing with the Black Widow spiders in our garage and occasionally taking them from where they had wandered into the house to outside as Mum was bothered by them ;-)
They’ve worked out the details so you need not re-invent, just extend:
Looks to me like moisture is the big thing. Maybe it is just coincidence that water puts out the fires then you get the mushrooms…
Claims it is about elm trees, yet one came up in my front yard up near Chico about 60 years ago (didn’t know what it was then, but thought it very strange) and we had no elm trees… Walnut and orange only IIRC.
Goes out of his way to say you can’t use the idea without his say-so, but Patents protect against COMMERCIAL use, not against private use…
So both processes make the “sclerotia” in the ground. One needs a tree, the other prepared media. Looks like several tree species are possible…
The page goes on to describe Orchids as being one symbiont species. Spouse like Orchids?
I think POTU-Sino Biden has a different species:
Ophiocordycepts… the cordycepsts grow out of the brain creating zombies… I think Biden may have discovered a new one that survives in people instead of ants… But for comparison:
I wonder if Biden has been to the tropics in the last decade or so…
@EMSmith; A number of years ago I was doing a bunch of masonry work which included a lot of bagged cement and concrete. After I was done for the year, I burned off the empty bags. the next spring that spot had a heavy Morel bloom. Also after building that dugout greenhouse next to the Garden, There was a bloom in the floor next to the wall l made of soil cement. I would guess that the PH change in the Acid soil had something to do with the bloom. I very rarely see a Morel in the wild around here. I do know that Morel Hunters favorite search areas in the spring in burn areas. That might be due to better visibility on bare soil of killed vegetation. In any case next week the soil temperature should reach the start of fungi blooming temperature…pg
It is also possible you have discovered another way of stressing the mycelium mat and convincing them that conditions have gone off here so time to make a mushroom and ‘spoor away’…
IF as was asserted by the site above, they live as a commensal with trees, and anything that threatens the health of the tree causes a bloom; then it might respond to cutting or death of the tree, heat / fire damage, and pH threat…
Looks to me like you already “did the experiment” and got the results…
I’d also suggest noting the kinds of trees around the places where you got the blooms. Are there any from the ash / elm family? Or are pines sufficient for the Morel?
When I was in junior high, a shortcut to/from the bus stop was to walk through the property of a small church (yes it was a white building with a typical steeple). I don’t recall the details, but this church basically abandoned the property and it had several large elm trees on it. Around that time, Dutch elm disease had killed a couple of the trees and no one was there to clean up the dead branches and debris. I even seem to recall that one of the trees had even fallen over.
Anyway, one time cutting through the church grounds, I noticed a couple of morels. I picked them and saw a couple more. I decided I would go home to get a knife and a bag. I ended up completely filling a grocery bag. I found more morels in that one day than I’ve found in all my years thereafter.
I’ve looked for them in Colorado a few times but haven’t found a single one. I know where to find King Boletus here but they are more bulk than flavor.
RE: Cement and fire. Cement has a high pH. For fire, smoke is acidic, low pH, and leaves behind a base, the ash, with a high pH. Sounds like a high pH is the key, or at least a key for the bloom.
So sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, or sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide (hydroxides probably used sparingly) could be tried to induce blooming.
Have you ever been so intoxicated you found yourself stumbling around, trying to find your friends, ending up in places you would never normally go, and executing behaviours you would normally never do sober?
Would holding onto a filthy commode for support and retching your guts out apply?
When they refer to things a drunken sailor would do . . . been there, done that.
We referred to it as “Driving the Porcelain Bus”…